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Three Drake Teams Honored By NCAA For Academic Success

Courtesy: Drake Athletics
Release: May 17, 2011
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MAY 17, 2011

DES MOINES, Iowa - The Drake women's basketball, women's golf and men's cross country programs have earned NCAA Public Recognition Awards given annually to teams scoring in the top 10 percent in each sport with Academic Progress Rates.

The women's basketball and golf teams earned the honor for the third-consecutive year, while the cross-country squad collected accolades for the second time and first since the 2004-05 academic year.

"NCAA recognition of our academic pursuits is something to be proud of," said Drake head women's basketball coach Amy Stephens.  "We have some of the best and brightest kids here at Drake and this recognition proves how hard they work at being true student-athletes."

Based on their most recent multi-year Academic Progress Rates, 909 teams earned NCAA Public Recognition Awards, up from 841 teams last year. The awards are given annually to teams scoring in the top 10 percent in each sport with their APRs.

Through its innovative APR, which provides an annual scorecard of academic achievement, the NCAA tracks the classroom performance of student-athletes on every Division I sports team.

"This honor is a testament to Drake that we are able to recruit and retain such great student-athletes," Drake head women's golf coach Leanne Smith commented.  "I'm very proud of the program we have been able to build over the last five years."

High-performing teams receiving public recognition awards this year posted APR scores ranging from 977 to a perfect 1,000. The number of teams in some sports may exceed 10 percent depending on how many achieved perfect scores.

The most recent APRs are multi-year rates based on scores from the 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-10 academic years. As APR scores improve, the threshold for teams to earn a place in the top 10 percent in their sport continues to rise.

"It is always great to get recognized by the NCAA," said Bulldog head cross-country coach Dan Hostager.  "Our cross-country team takes great pride in its academic and athletic accomplishments. Distance running is such a developmental sport that the only true way to achieve success is to put the hard work in and to be patient over the years. The team works extremely hard in and out of the classroom and its long-term commitment to its education and athletic accomplishments is reflected in a high APR."

The APR provides a real-time view of a team's academic success by tracking the progress of each student-athlete during the school year. By measuring eligibility and retention each semester or quarter, the APR provides a clear picture of the academic culture in each sport.

An APR score of 925 is the minimum level of academic success; teams scoring below 925 can lose scholarships and face other sanctions over time, including bans on postseason play.

The 909 teams publicly recognized this year for high achievement represent 14 percent of the 6,385 eligible Division I teams. The list includes 525 women's teams and 384 men's or mixed squads.

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